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Sunday, September 16, 2012

God Wants Another Piece of My Heart

“But we all,
with open face beholding as in a glass
the glory of the Lord,
are changed into the same image
from glory to glory,
even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 3:18 KJV

One of my favorite childhood memories is working jigsaw puzzles with my family. After all of the pieces were turned over face side up, we then began the task of working the straight edge pieces that would form the shape of the puzzle. It was great fun watching the puzzle picture come into view piece by piece. I still remember my older brother Bob tapping each piece he placed with his fingernail, signaling another victory for his ability to find and place missing puzzle pieces. He also liked to hide one piece in his pocket so that he could be the one to put in place the final piece of the puzzle. In spite of his teasing as we worked the puzzle, I still enjoyed working jigsaw puzzles with him and I have enjoyed passing this activity on to my children and grandchildren.

Today I am thinking about the fact that our heart is very much like a jigsaw puzzle. When we ask God to come into our life, God begins to work on our heart. God first removes the dark shroud of sin from our heart. God then works all of the blood red edge pieces of our hearts puzzle to form the perfect shape that he has planned for our life. Even though we have been forgiven there is still much work to do in our heart. The sin that separated us from God is gone, but the sin that comes from our sinful nature still needs God’s sanctification process. As we walk with God, he exposes many sinful pieces of our heart’s puzzle. The light of God’s love now shines on our heart as he begins the process of  identifying  and revealing each sinful puzzle piece of our heart’s puzzle.

It is God’s desire that we will allow him to replace each piece with a new piece that has been stamped in the image of his character. My part in working the puzzle of my heart requires me to surrender to God every sinful piece of my heart’s puzzle that he lovingly asks for. When I hand him the piece of the puzzle that he is asking for, he stands ready to replace that missing piece with a piece that resembles a godly characteristic. My entire life my heart’s puzzle will always be a work in progress. The exact picture of the puzzle has not yet been revealed. I am anxiously waiting to see the finished picture that will be unveiled in heaven. God promises me that when I get to heaven, as I search for my face to appear in the puzzle I will be pleasantly surprised to see the face of my Savior, Jesus Christ. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 KJV

Over the years I have gone through the painful experience of relinquishing to God many pieces that make up the puzzle of my heart. Sometimes it takes me years to pry out the piece that God is asking for. You see, every piece of my heart has a specific word written on the face of the puzzle piece. Words like selfishness, pride, anger, hurt, greed, deceit, and gossip. Sometimes there are pieces that remind me of a bad habit, a wall of protection, a spirit of unforgiveness, a desire for revenge, or unkind words. Some of the more difficult pieces to relinquish to God have been a spirit of irritation, a judgmental spirit, and the piece that screams fear. There is also that reoccurring piece that says control. This piece is especially hard to surrender as it stubbornly clings to the wall of my heart.

I have found that when I am able to surrender to him the piece of the puzzle baring the word hate, he replaces it with another piece that has love written on its face. When God asks me to relinquish to him the piece that has fear written on it, he then takes that piece and replaces it with a piece that reads trust. He takes the control piece and taps in its place a piece labeled surrender.

Every time I release a specific piece of my heart’s puzzle to God, it seems that God will then immediately go after another piece of my heart. Day after day God continues to ask me for additional pieces of my heart’s puzzle, one ugly piece at a time.  It is God's desires to replace each sinful piece of my heart’s puzzle with his words of grace. God wants to replace irritation with compassion, judgment with mercy, and impatience with patience. God wants to replace fear with trust, pride with humility, and anger with his peace.

The truth is God always wants another piece of my heart. He will never take it but he lovingly waits for me to hand it to him. As God removes each piece I hand him  he always replaces it with a new piece that is a perfect fit. I wish I could say that once trust is in place it remains there forever and that when fear is removed I always live in perfect peace. I wish I could say that once God removes a puzzle piece of irritation that I would always exhibit compassion. The fact is there are multiple pieces each labeled with a sinful word. There is a puzzle piece for every situation I will ever encounter in this life. I am in constant need of a puzzle working partner who is a Master. Jesus is the one who will help me work the puzzle pieces of my heart into a picture of his perfection. Every situation, every circumstance, every relationship, every encounter, and every hurt will always need the touch of Master puzzle worker’s hand. Jesus also  stands ready to make sure that a good puzzle piece that is already in place does not become loose and break away. If forgiveness, trust, love, kindness, joy, or peace becomes loose and about to disconnect, Jesus is standing by ready to help me safely secure that piece of my heart’s puzzle back into its proper firm position. I must always listen to his voice of love that warns me when I am about to dislodge a piece that is representative of his goodness and full of his grace.

The knowledge that God always wants another piece of my heart is one of my greatest blessings! My deepest longing to be more and more like Jesus Christ. One by one, God continues to ask me to willingly surrender every piece of my heart puzzle that does not reflect his image. This is his holy process that is changing me from “glory to glory.” As I mature in my faith it is my desire that more and more of the pieces of my heart's puzzle would remain intact. I pray I will not struggle so hard and long as I move toward surrendering every piece that he asks for. I want to willingly pry each sinful piece from my heart and open handedly quickly place each piece in his competent hand.

I believe  when we walk with Jesus and listen to his voice and obey his commands the picture on our heart's puzzle is becoming more and more beautiful. Someday our life on this earth will be over and we will meet Jesus face to face. At that point I imagine Jesus will pull from his robe pocket the very last piece of our heart’s puzzle. As he taps the last piece of the puzzle in place he will smile and say, “It is finished!” and then he will welcome each one of us into heaven for all eternity.


1.Do you find that you are always in need of a replacement puzzle piece?
2. Do you try to work your heart’s puzzle alone?
3. Are you blessed by the fact that because of Jesus’ great love for you he always wants another piece of your heart?
4. What specific piece is Jesus asking you for today?
5. Will today be the day you will surrender that piece of your heart’s puzzle to him?


Dear Jesus,

Forgive me when I become upset and frustrated because I see you standing in front of me with an open, outstretched hand asking me for another piece of my heart’s puzzle. There are times I do not want to surrender the piece I love! When you take away those pieces you are taking away my face, my image, and my will. On the other hand, I am so glad that you love me so much that you are never satisfied with an incomplete puzzle. I am blessed to know that you always want another piece of my heart. Help me Lord to walk through my life with you by my side. As we sit in the garden together show me the next piece of my heart’s puzzle that you want to replace. I am well aware of times when life catches me off guard and throws me for a loop; please guard the puzzle of my heart. Do not allow any of the pieces that you have already replaced to become disconnected. Firmly hold those pieces in place. Protect my thinking so that I do not allow Satan to dislodge the pieces that you have lovingly changed. Help me to look to you for strength that will enable me to surrender to you the damaging puzzle pieces that I still cling to so tightly. Jesus, I thank you that because you love me you will never stop asking me for yet another piece of my heart.

In Your Name I Pray. Amen.